Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hot Tub Troubles

As some of you may have heard, our house came with a hot tub. We always thought it would be so great to have one, so we were really excited about it because have you seen how much those cost new? Yeah, it wasn't really in the budget. A nice feature of this particular tub is that it is located right outside our master bedroom on a very private deck (not the deck in the backyard). How romantic, right?

Well, as you can imagine, we didn't wait too long after moving in to give it try. We found out that the previous owner hadn't used the tub for 3 years, so it needed a good scrub down. Then, we had to figure out how to fill it. The hose bib attached to the house that is mere inches from tub wasn't working and I still haven't found the water shut-off switch in the crawl space that would turn that back on. So, I went for the next one I saw, only 20 feet away. No problem, we've got a long enough hose. But as the water came streaming into the tub I suddenly realized that it was irrigation water! (Brown, murky, and full of sediment, etc.) So I drained it and cleaned it again.

I had to buy a special adapter so we could attach the hose to the shower in our bathroom and snake the hose out the window, but a few days later I managed to fill it with clean water and actually soaked in it that night. But, I didn't really know how to treat the water with the right chemicals to keep it sanitary for the long term and was too busy painting the house to learn how. We also didn't want to pay to keep the thing heated through the winter (it was late-October by this time), so we ended up draining it again shortly thereafter. We also discovered that it did have a few slow leaks, too.

Well, I guess we weren't very thorough in our draining efforts because when we had a hard freeze the filter chamber burst. [Insert picture later.] We realized this a few weeks later when we thought it would be nice to get that hot tub running for real. Halfway into the filling process, water started gushing like crazy from that cartridge. I gave up and decided to wait until spring, when it would be warm enough outside to fix everything.

After months of hearing David say "I wish the hot tub was working" at least once a week, I decided I'd surprise him and fix it up. So, I removed the broken cartridge and carried it and the filter down to the hot tub store a few blocks away. My hot tub is so old (circa 1988) that they had to special order the parts for me. No biggie, I've waited all winter, I can wait another week. The new cartridge and filter arrived on Tuesday and I dragged the whole crew down to the hot tub store again to pick it up...gleefully imagining how relaxing it would be to soak in the tub that night.

I hooked up the new parts in just a few minutes and started to fill the tub. A moment later I noticed that water was leaking like crazy from a joint that connected the pipes to the heater. Bummer, I thought, but hey - "Look, that joint comes off with a screw driver! I can do that." So I removed the broken part, drained the tub, and loaded the kids up again to head back to the hot tub store. This time they had the part in stock. Good. The owner of the store recommended using some sort of squishy, gooey stuff on the joint to help prevent leaks. She said I could buy it at the hardware store just down the street. Um, okay. So off I went with the kiddos, found the stuff, and bought some ice cream at Micky-D's to reward them for being so nice while I took them all over town. Still Tuesday afternoon, I squished the goo on the new part and attempted to attach everything. I thought it was all on right, so I started to fill the tub again. A few minutes later, the gushing water told me I'd gotten it wrong. It took another 15 minutes and some leverage, but I finally got that one part put back on and started to fill tub.

Everything looked good until it was nearing the halfway full mark. That's when I noticed a different leak on a pipe off to the side and that's also when I gave up the project for the night. Wednesday I realized that I could just unscrew two ends and take off the damaged section. So I took it with me to the hardware store hoping they'd have compatible parts that I could just screw back in. Nope - apparently hot tub parts are not compatible with average plumbing parts. They did have a solution for me: saw off the threads and use couplers to attach a piece of pvc pipe at both ends. Sounded like a good idea and probably less chances of leakage, so I went for it. While I was hanging out at Ace listening to the two employees discuss my best options, the kids were crawling all over the store and Kathryn managed to pee on the floor. Fabulous. Needless to say, I didn't attempt the sawing of the pipes on Wednesday.

Today got off to a great start: I found the saw and realized that doing the sawing on those pipes inside the hot tub was not going to be easy. Our small saw didn't fit well in there. Maybe Home Depot would have the parts I needed, so I took the babies while the older kids were at school. No luck - but the guy I talked to there said that the friendly hot tub store people would have what I wanted. Hmmm... why didn't I think of that? (Maybe because I thought it would be cheaper to buy plumbing parts from the hardware store - you know those hot tub people really mark up their products!) Wouldn't you know, she had exactly what I needed! I glued the pvc to the new connecting parts and put everything back together again. [insert picture here] That wasn't so hard, I thought.

Then, I got a little hasty. The directions on the glue say to wait for 2 hours, but I thought we could fudge on that a little and started to fill the tub. Everything looked good. The tub was half full when I noticed it...ANOTHER {small} leak. This one is on a pipe farther back, a little harder to see. And how could I have noticed that small leak before with all the other huge gushers at the front? Well, I was determined that we would use the hot tub tonight despite the leak, so I continued to fill it up, and figured we could just drain it afterwards and then I'd figure out how to fix the new leak. Just then my newly installed pipe sprung a leak! Maybe I hadn't screwed it back on tight enough - or maybe the cement really did need a full 2 hours to dry before use. Either way, it was gushing and I was ready to throw in the towel.

That's when the kids went swimming and I went to Relief Society. At least I knew I could count on getting some chocolate there.

So, that's where we are now. I'm almost ready to call the hot tub repair guy and let him finish the job or just give up on the hot tub altogether. What would you do?


feathersky said...

You've come too far to give up now! (and c'mon now, you haven't found any use for duct tape yet?!?! repent!) :D

Heather said...

That is so much more perseverance than I would have been capable of. My hat is off to you. It seems like your close. I say go for it.

My Everythings said...

I'm impressed. I would have called for help long ago, I can't believe you were able to do all that! Now you have to get it finished. It will be awesome when you do. said...

Good luck. Make sure that the drain has the safety "off switch" to prevent tragic suction accidents that can happen with children. As you can see, I'm safety obsessed.

Jed and Kaydence said...

You are brave and I would never have even tried from the beginning. Save yourself the hassle (as if you didn't have enough already) and call someone!

Momma Miles said...

This is the funniest thing I've seen in a while! "managed to pee on the floor", I can see it and I've gotta say I've been there.

You know if teaching doesn't work out I'd consider plumbing. I've heard they make good money. Just a thought.